Chapter 6 - The Hidden Vault
After Abium separated from the Soldiers' group, he stealthily began to advance towards the west.
He didn't have any worry about Claude's group encountering monsters on their way to Baron Bernard's territory.
'Well, there are only fields and villages appeared in between two nobles territories anyway. So the possibility of them encountering monster is very low.' He thought.
Casting those worries away from his heart, he peered into the western direction and smiled brightly. With a smile on his face, he moved cautiously. It's been four hours since he separated from Claude's group. He didn't encounter any monsters or wild animals during the last four hours, which made him startle a little.
'Hmm, did those goblins scared all nearby monsters and wild animals away?' He knitted his eyebrows and sighed deeply.
'Well, it doesn't matter anyway.'
Shaking his head, he began to move like a cat in the dark.
His next destination was the Hidden vault. It was a ruin located at the western edge of the Baxbron woods.
Baxbron woods originate from Margrave Eliot's territory, then covered the Viscount Gauvain territory's western region and continued to the Mainland's west edge.
Beyond the edge was the borderland. It was a mysterious land that separates the 'Forgotten land' from the Mainland.
But Abium didn't have any plan to go near to that mysterious borderland or the 'Forgotten land.' His current goal was to retrieve an artifact from a cave. That cave was located near the 'Hidden vault' ruin.
'But, this time, I must check what is hidden behind that Black door.' He muttered in excitement.
Soon, he controlled his emotions and then noticed a group of gray wolves was sleeping near a rocky cave.
Before he could step back, he unknowingly stepped on a wooden stick and caused a cracking noise!
Abium immediately ducked behind a tree and held his breath!
For the first time, he began to sweat all over.
He knew these wolves' strengths were more powerful than the Hobgoblin and became anxious!
"Grrrr." One puffy Gray wolf woke up due to the cracking noise and glanced at the surroundings cautiously. Then its pointy ears started to twitch.
But soon, it returned to its sleep as it didn't notice any changes.
After confirming the gray wolf was asleep, Abium breathed out a sigh of relief and once again stealthily walked towards the west.
A few ordinary wild wolves pursued him continuously in the past, and eventually, he discovered a rocky cave. After entering the cave, he somehow got transported into a mysterious room and got himself locked inside. In that room, he found a rare artifact! Although he managed to get out of that room on the very next day, he still felt something was off about that place.
'If not for that artifact, I would have lost many items.' He thought inwardly.
'But my inborn intuition is telling me there is something rare hidden on the other side of that mysterious room.' Abium was so sure of that because his intuition had never been wrong all this time. His eyes shone in the moonlight, and soon, his figure advanced towards the 'Hidden vault' ruin stealthily.
At the same time, in the Lawbarth household mansion,
A slightly obese man with blonde hair, round face, and olive skin, who was so similar to Robert, sat on a wooden chair in his study and now was frowning deeply.
A few moments ago, Viscount Gauvain received a piece of news about the goblins' ambush and got tensed up. But made the frown on his forehead to deepen was Johnathan's reckless move. In the letter, Johnathan mentioned that he left those soldiers and servants as scapegoats, and now their group was on their way to the Royal Capital Dewsummit City.
'That fool didn't even check those bastards are still alive or not.'
Viscount inspected at the paper while narrowing his eyes and decided to move with caution.
He cursed Johnathan in his mind and began to take his next step carefully. He knew Johnathan sacrificed those filthy commoners as scapegoats only to protect Robert.
'But still, what if someone got any wind of this news?' A thought crossed his mind.
Without any delay, Viscount immediately summoned the city garrison captain and waited for him inside his study. Within a minute, a black-haired guy who was around 30 years old walked in and gave a military salute. He had brown eyes, a square face, and a deep C- shaped scar on his right cheek. Waving his hand, Viscount Gauvain looked into the black-haired guy's eyes and asked in a cold tone.
"Rex, did the scout members found anything unusual in the Baxborn woods?"
"No, my Lord. Yesterday, the scouting squad leader came to the city and gave a detailed report." Rex shook his head.
"Something is wrong. Just now, I got a letter from Johnathan. He stated a hundred of goblins ambushed their unit." Hearing Viscount Gauvain's simple words, Rex also tensed up and soon spoke with a shocked expression.
"What?! My lord, how is our young master? Is he okay?" Viscount waved his hand at Captain Rex's concerned question and continued.
"He is safe. Johnathan escaped along with my son and a few other household members. But the problem is he left those commoner soldiers and servants as scapegoats. He also affirmed that there was a hybrid involved in that attack."
"My lord, then what should we say to those soldiers' family members?" Rex asked in confusion.
"If we said they died protecting my son, Robert, then it will look more suspicious because all our soldiers are in good condition so others could easily figure out what had happened in the Baxborn woods. If the news leaks out, we will be in deep shit." Viscount pondered for a second and continued.
"First, dispatch a patrol unit to Baxbron woods and see the situation. Also, destroy all the evidence."
"Yes, my lord." Guard captain Rex stood in front of Viscount nervously and replied hurriedly. Meanwhile, Viscount returned his gaze towards that small paper and gave another order.
"Also, go to the Adventurer's guild and put the remaining soldiers' and servants' name on the wanted list. Ten white gold coins for everyone's head. Select any of the reason."
"My lord, is that really worth to spend that much money to kill them?"
"Fool! We are the one who is going to kill them. This wanted list posture is to make these peasants believe our lie completely. Well, no use in keeping their lives anymore. So if you found anyone alive near the forest, kills them off."
"Sir... Umm, is it necessary to kill every one of them? Why don't we threaten them by using their family members to keep their mouths shut?" Rex looked into Viscount's eyes with nervousness and quietly asked.
But Viscount Gauvain shook his head firmly at the guard captain's naive question.
"If we do that, later, it may look more unusual. If a noble from the opposite faction gets the winds of this news, it will be more troublesome. Just keep an eye on their families, but don't make any unnecessary problems. We must keep our profile low for the time being. Now go."
After he sent the head captain outside, he leaned on the wooden armchair and muttered with an evil smirk.
'Once our mission got successful, our household doesn't need to pay any heed to these worthless lives. Even if some noble dare to speak ill of me, others will have their lips sealed because of the fear of opposing me. Hehe, conspiring with 'The Order of the Dead,' is the right choice indeed.'
September 4th, It was around 7 'o'clock in the evening.
Abium had already arrived at the hidden vault ruin located at the end of the Baxbron woods and now stood a few meters away from a dark rocky cave. The cave's surroundings were full of thorns and poison plants and appeared more dangerous.
Abium stood a few meters away from the cave's mouth with an exhausted expression and cautiously glanced at the surrounding. He was now panting heavily due to the long journey and looked more solemn. It took him almost a day to reach here.
'It's already becoming dark outside.'
The darkness surrounded him everywhere, making it hard for him to see what was in front of him. Without showing any fear, he walked near to the cave's entrance and entered inside. The cave was engulfed in chilling blackness. The absence of light meant the lack of its warming touch. But that didn't stop him from moving forward because he felt a familiarity with this cave.
Underfoot the loose stones shifted, twisting his ankle one way and then the other, and the noise of those disturbed rocks echoed off the dense stone walls.
Also, without even a match to cast light into the black, he had no way to tell how deep it was.
Abium stepped inside the cave and tapped those chilling rocks from time to time. Finally, after a minute of walking in the dark, he touched a smooth stone with his finger and then smiled.
'It's here!' He muttered to himself and pressed that smooth stone. But nothing happened.
‘What’s wrong?’ He furrowed his brows and became puzzled.
‘In the past, I came here anxiously and touched the same area. The only difference is that my hands are covered in my own blood. I was injured back then and came here to hide away from the wolves.’ He narrowed his eyes in suspicion and soon widened his eyes.
‘Blood! It must be something to do with my blood.’ He nodded his head and made a small cut using his sharp sword. He then let the blood drop onto the smooth wall and waited.
A heartbeat later, a white light flickered inside the rocky cave, and then a mysterious white-colored circle appeared under his feet. In the past, after a flash of light, he quickly found himself in a mysterious room. But this time, Abium saw the mysterious circle clearly and became astounded.
'Magic!' That was the only answer that appeared in his mind!
Then, he heard a slight clanging sound, and soon the smooth rock started to shine again.
A rumbling noise echoed!
A second later, the rocky door slowly opened and revealed a path towards empty darkness. A smile crept on Abium's face as he saw the empty darkness. He took out the magic lamp from his leather bag and lit it with an understanding expression on his face.
The light brightened the gloomy dark path and revealed a dark room up ahead. Holding the magic lamp on his ring hand, he stepped into the dark path.
He didn't take out the magic lamp earlier because he feared this lamp might attract unwanted attention from those lurking monsters in these ruins.
The darkroom was like a place out of time, a place to rest without consequence. As Abium arrived in front of the darkroom, he pushed to the broken iron door and opened it completely with a screeching noise.
Without any delay, he walked inside. But the next instant, the rocky door behind him automatically sealed itself. He shook his head and progressed further while inspecting the darkroom.
It was a shabby room with three sq meters and had a broken metal table placed at the center. The table was rusty and completely covered in dust. Abium also saw another black metal door on the other side and narrowed his eyes. Shaking his head, Abium turned his head and looked at the wooden box placed on the broken metal table.
It was a small, black, and shiny box. When he opened the box, there was a ring placed in it.
'Spatial ring.' He grinned widely.
It was a blue-colored gem embedded silver ring!
He immediately picked that spatial ring and then put it on his ring finger. Then, he sent a minute amount of spirit power into it and imprinted with it.
'This ring's owner must be dead ages ago; otherwise, there is no way I would be able to open it.' Abium sighed deeply.
Spatial rings were very mysterious and rarely found, even in auction houses. Suppose someone wants to open the spatial ring by forcibly transferring one's spirit power, which would be a foolish thing to do because destroying the original owner's spirit imprint would cause an elemental fluctuation. That fluctuation would lead the ring to shatter, and the materials inside that ring would be forever bound to disappear into the void.
As Abium was thinking deeply, he felt a connection with the spatial ring, and soon a space of around 25 cubic meters appeared in his mind. A good smile appeared on his face.
After storing his leather bag into his spatial ring, he turned his head towards the black door and stood there with some hesitation on his face.
In the past, when Abium entered this room, he noticed that black door but didn't dare to walk near to it. He stayed inside this mysterious room for a day and escaped from here. Eventually, he met with Oliver, an elite soldier who saved his life and became a real warrior.
When Oliver asked about the ring during the training, Abium revealed all the details and even told him about the dark door.
After hearing Abium's words, Oliver quickly warned him not to reveal this ring's existence to anyone. Besides, Oliver explained to him it was the spatial ring, and mages mostly use these types of rings. He also told him that this spatial ring was a treasure even for a noble and warning him sternly that revealing its existence to others would harm him in the future.
At first, Abium thought Oliver was attempting to scare him. But later, he learned the truth about spatial rings from an apprentice mage and became utterly shocked. That apprentice mage told him that a regular spatial ring holds three cubic meters and would cost around one high tier magic stone or ten intermediate magic stone.
The mid-tier space ring holds 15 cubic meters and required more than 50 high tier magic stones to buy.
After hearing those apprentice mage's words, he finally understood why Oliver warned him repeatedly before.
He also thought about how great this ring must be, which holds 25 cubic meters. He still didn't know the exact value of this spatial ring and never revealed this ring to any strangers. He laughed at his past self and thought how inexperienced when he was younger.
His first purpose of obtaining that ring was over. Now it's time to investigate what was hidden on the other side of the black door. He walked in front of the black metal door and cautiously moved his hand towards the lock.
When his finger touched the lock, it fell on the ground with a clanging noise.
Then, Abium slightly pushed the door panel, and soon it opened with a screeching sound. He saw stairs appeared in front of his eyes and revealed a passage to downstairs.
'An underground basement?' He frowned deeply.
Although he was eager to explore what was inside this basement, he quickly stopped himself and thought of resting inside the mysterious room before exploring. He closed the black door and laid on the concrete floor near the rusty metal table without any choice. After that, he looked up at the weird inscriptions painted on the ceiling in a daze and soon fell into a deep sleep.